L.A. Comic Con 2018: One Nerd’s Experience

More than 90,000 people – nerds and cool kids alike – descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center every year at L.A. Comic Con on the weekend (Friday through Sunday) before Halloween. While dressed up as characters from anime, comic books, superhero movies and myriad other sources, attendees roam around 720,000 square feet of artists, vendors and performers. On Saturday and Sunday they can also sit in on dozens of panels and listen to experts discussing comics, movies, pop culture and many other topics. With so much to offer, the activities taking place throughout the convention center are as expansive as the venue is.

L.A. Comic Con 2018 Main Hall
The convention featured infinitely more than comic books and anime, with exhibits ranging from recreated sets from “The Shining” and “Beetlejuice” to an actual F-16 fighter jet.

L.A. Comic Con 2018 Exhibitors List

L.A. Comic Con 2018 Floor Map

At its core Comic Con is a place for misfits to fit in, providing abundant social acceptance to those least accepted by society. (It’s also a place for swaths of seminude photoshoots at its core, admittedly, yes. But that’s a different article altogether.) This was my third such convention in L.A., and it didn’t disappoint. Without feeling the stigma of being a nerd (at least not palpably), I cosplayed Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy and Hela. It was cute being addressed by my characters’ names for photo requests: “Wonder Woman, can I get a pic with you?” (It’s always nice to take a break from “ma’m” when you’re older than 20.) And it was fun posing with the seriously devoted cosplayers, such as Charlys Aires, a professional-grade Aquaman. My outfits’ footwear left my feet bitterly vengeful, and several of my toes are still numb even two days after being released from high-heel jail, but it was a lot of fun. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

WonderWoman_3
After finding Batman (cosplayer unknown), I sought out other members of the Justice League.
WonderWoman_4-Aquaman
Standing next to Charlys Aires (Aquaman), I look like an underachieving amateur — in addition to looking 10 times paler than I usually do.
PoisonIvy_heels_1
Prepping to hit the road for Day 2, dressed as Poison Ivy, I snapped a couple shots in full regalia.
PoisonIvy_heels_5
Wearing 5.5-inch heels after having spent a full day in boots that were only 2 inches tall but at least one size too small wasn’t as comfy as it sounds.
Hela_3-Thor
Finding the Thor (cosplayer unknown) from “Thor: Ragnarok” in particular was awesome!
Hela_2-Valk
This Valkyrie (cosplayer unknown) owned that role!
Hela_5-scene1
My pose doesn’t exactly match any scene in “Thor: Ragnarok,” but the  spirit is there.
Hela_4
When I cosplayed Hela, my rbf came in handy for a change.

Although I have a great time cosplaying, the real attraction for me at Comic Con is the artwork. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, woodwork, patches, pins, clothing, accessories – all of it. In anticipation of loading up on the exhibitors’ creations, I set aside money all year to go toward curating my art collection in October. This year I brought home twice as much art as last year on the same budget by avoiding “official” (i.e., expensive) collectibles and supporting only independent artists like the ones whose illustrations are presented below. (Note: The pics are deliberately low-quality out of respect for the artists, whom I encourage everyone to contact for originals at the websites provided.)

ComicCon_art-Tokyo
Artist: Ambrose | https://www.gopheritcomics.com
ComicCon_art-Superman
Artist: Juan Romera | http://www.diablocomics.com/
ComicCon_art-Chadwick
Artist: Chadwick Haverland | https://chadwickhaverlandstudios.com/
ComicCon_art8-Punisher
Artist: Mike Matola | http://www.mikematola.com/
ComicCon_art3
Artist: Ryan Adams | https://www.etsy.com/shop/PsychoSwami
ComicCon_art-Stranger.album.cover
Artist: Joey Spiotto | http://www.jo3bot.com/
ComicCon_art-Shining
Artist: Joe Van Dyke | http://www.joevandyke.net

I met some amazing people there this year, too, from breakthrough artists like Chadwick Haverland and Joe Van Dyke to two of my childhood heroes: the actors who played Sean and Rudy in “The Monster Squad” (1987). I was gushing with affectionate nostalgia when I got them to autograph fan art by Ludwig Van Bacon for me. Breaking from tradition (a self-imposed one), I even smiled when my picture was taken with them – something unheard of to those who know me well.

RyanLambert.AndreGower_1
Andre Gower (left) and Ryan Lambert (right) hung around to chat with fans after speaking at the “Behind the Scenes: Monster Squad” panel.
MonsterSquad.fan-art.signed
Artist: Ludwig Van Bacon | http://www.lvbart.com/
Hela_7-Chad
I started out my Hela day with another visit at Chadwick Haverland’s booth.

Comic Con celebrates every intricate facet of the imaginary worlds that are such a large part of many people’s real worlds. Also, the event extends Halloween by three whole days! (When you’re as creepily enamored of that holiday as I am, there are few things in life that are as emotionally succulent as that is.) Next year’s Comic Con will have to try really hard to beat this year’s because I had a lot of unique experiences at this one. But I said that last year too. And the year before that as well. And it managed to one-up the previous year’s convention both times. So, maybe I’m not issuing a challenge; maybe I’m making a promise.